November 23, 2011
BPA Levels Increase With Canned Soup Consumption
The chemical bisphenol A (BPA) - used in soup cans to prevent them from rusting - could increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes, scientists warn.
Consuming canned soup every day for just five days has now been shown to cause a 1,000 percent increase in levels of BPA in the body, reports Claire Bates of the Daily Mail.
BPA is an endocrine disruptor that has been shown to interfere with reproductive development in animal studies at levels of 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight and higher, though it remains uncertain if the same effects cross over to humans, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Although is it has been banned from baby bottles in the EU and other countries, the chemical is used to line other metal food containers, polycarbonate bottles and some products used in dental surgeries.
Tests on 75 volunteers revealed that BPA was readily ingested and detected in large amounts in their urine, the Journal of the American Medical Association reports.
Dr. Jenny Carwile, lead author of the latest study at the Harvard School of Public Health, said: “We´ve known for a while that drinking beverages that have been stored in certain hard plastics can increase the amount of BPA in your body. This study suggests that canned foods may be an even greater concern, especially given their wide use,” writes Michelle Roberts for BBC News.
Carwile´s team asked volunteers to eat either a freshly made 12oz serving of vegetarian soup or one out of a can once a day for five days and after a weekend of rest, the groups switched over so that the fresh soup group now ate the canned variety and vice-versa.
BPA was detected in the urine in 77 percent of samples after fresh soup consumption and 100 percent of samples after canned soup consumption. A serving of tinned soup a day appeared to increase BPA 20-fold.
The average concentration of BPA was 1.1 µg/L after fresh soup consumption compared to and 20.8 µg/L after eating soup from a tin. The researchers say levels like these are “among the most extreme reported in a non-occupational setting”.
This study measured micrograms per liter of urine, not BPA levels by micrograms per kilogram of body weight, so a direct comparison to the EPA-cited danger level in animals was not possible.
Previous studies, however, have linked BPA at lower levels than those found in the Harvard study to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity in humans, Carwile told Kerry Sheridan of AFP in an email.
Health and environmental agencies from the US are considering whether “further action is needed to address human health risks resulting from non-food-packaging uses of BPA.”
France´s Agency for Food Health Safety (Anses) in September called for tougher preventive measures, warning that even “low doses” of the chemical had a “confirmed” effect on lab animals and a “suspected” effect on humans. Preventing exposure to BPA among infants, pregnant or nursing women was a “priority goal,” Anses said.
Authors of the Harvard study say their findings should encourage people who eat canned foods often, should opt for fresh instead, and the results of the study should serve as a warning to manufacturers who use BPA in their packaging.
“The magnitude of the rise in urinary BPA we observed after just one serving of soup was unexpected and may be of concern among individuals who regularly consume foods from cans or drink several canned beverages daily,” said senior author Karin Michels.
“It may be advisable for manufacturers to consider eliminating BPA from can linings.”
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